Last week Google announced its upcoming OS, Chrome OS. More than the fact that Google is entering the OS market, which was expected, the most significant thing about this announcement is the OS name. Chrome is already the name of the web browser that Google launched 9 months ago.
So, Chrome gives the best user experience for AJAX apps. But what about the overall computer user experience? Google figured that if you “live on the web”, the OS in you computer is probably getting in the way, because it’s designed to do too many things instead of just letting you get on the web. It’s slow to boot, it’s big, it has a lot of things you don’t need and will never use. So the idea of Google is to remove everything but the bare minimum: a kernel (Linux), a windowing system (no details on that, except it will be “new”) and of course a browser (Chrome). The name Chrome OS was then a logical choice, since the most visible part of this OS will be the Chrome browser.
I read a lot of articles saying that Google was now set to fight Microsoft on the OS field. Is this true? Yes and no. Yes, because it will probably take away a significant part of Microsoft’s business, that is computers that are designed for online access. That includes netbooks, but not only: a large and growing part of computer users “live on the web” and don’t use their computers for anything else. No, because there will still be some use cases where Chrome OS will not be an option: gaming, video editing, development, all CPU-demanding activities. And we’re only talking about desktop users of course.
So we have a OS with a minimal Linux kernel, and adopting web technologies as the main application building bricks… does that remind you of anything? If not, have a look there…